The Motherloot Blog: Product Reviews

Review: Blackberry Visor Mount

blackberry visor mountI use a Blackberry for my business and recently shared about some of my favorite applications for this cell phone. I have never bought any accessories for the phone, but was excited when I was contacted to see if I would be interested in reviewing the Blackberry Visor Mount VM605.

The Blackberry Visor Mount is a hands free Bluetooth speakerphone. The visor mount can receive your calls and your favorite music from your BlackBerry using your car’s FM stereo system. For safety purposes it is good to know that it supports voice activated dialing, caller ID, and verbal notifications to let you know who’s calling. With this device, you can stay in touch while keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

The set up of the visor mount was quick and easy. I am not very technical so I really appreciate any techy gadgets that I can set up all by myself without hollering for my husband to assist. Within five minutes of a few simple instructions, my Blackberry was communicating with the visor mount and I was in business.

I called my husband at work to let him know it was all set up… right from the driveway.  I first attempted the voice activated dialing, but it wanted to call everyone except my husband so I was not able to do everything entirely through the mount itself. Even though the voice dialing did not work, my husband said he could hear me clearly and also could hear my daughter in the car too.

While the hands-free calling is great, I was secretly more interested in using it to listen to music. Just like you would use an adapter for your iPod in the car, you switch to the FM station that is recommended (simply by clicking the button on the left of the device) and then set your station on your radio to stream your music.

Instead of paying for an expensive subscription-based radio,  I can now listen to the music I really love through Pandora with minimal commercial interruption. The sound quality is amazingly good and I love going on trips where I can use this. The downfall, of course, is the drain on your phone’s battery. This can be remedied with a good charging before a trip though. If you have more than one place to plug in a charger in your car though, you could be charging the visor mount and phone simultaneously. Alas, nothing like this was invented in my ’99 Subaru, but a girl can dream!

Overall, it is a handy gadget that I plan to use often in our car. It is a great way to communicate with my hubby when I am on the road, the kids love hearing their dads voice through the speaker, and none of us can get enough of the streaming radio

Suggested Retail Price: $69.99

Website for More Details: Blackberry Visor Mount

Purchase Experience Review: Cellular Services at Walmart

blackberry-curve

Walmart is now offering cellular phone services in their stores and gave me a chance to purchase a new SmartPhone and share about my experience with their customer service. By giving us this opportunity, we will be able to review new store features as the company advances in this technology and in conjunction with supporting their Eleven Moms Program.

I headed to Walmart on the evening before heading to South By Southwest conference in Austin, TX. I had my heart set on a Blackberry Storm after reading some great reviews on this phone. Unfortunately, the search had been on for over a week to find the Blackberry Storm at Walmart, but because it was so new, it was only available in select store locations. I decided to just head to my local store to see what they had to offer instead.

The employees were polite, but were short-staffed and the person that normally ran the cellular location was not in that day. The other two employees did a surprisingly great job improvising and getting me set up with a new phone service.

The nice thing about heading to the Walmart location was that it wasn’t as busy as it is at my local Verizon store.  It took about the same amount of time and I could still do my normal grocery shopping while I was there.

The display was set up with phones that you could try and the staff was stocked with plenty of pamphlets on the different phone service agreements.  They were able to review the pros and cons of the different plans with me and called Verizon to get my new plan into action while activating my phone.  Best of all, they informed me of the new Friends & Family Network so I could register the people I call the most that are out-of-network and no longer be charged for it.

You might be wondering why I would not choose the iPhone for my phone as Walmart was fully stocked on those?  Well, my entire family and best friend are all within the Verizon network so if I switched, it would have cost me a lot of additional money to terminate a contract and I would have hated to be charged for the minutes to talk to the people I talk with the most. The pitfall with the Blackberry is the $30 service that is mandatory for internet/email access.

I waited until I received my bill to write this review because many times I have discovered after activating a phone that the bill has been set up improperly. The bill was accurate and exactly as I had requested for phone service. To not have to hassle with the bill afterwards was a pleasant surprise and was a tribute to the great service I received at my local Walmart store.

What kind of phone did I finally settle on? I decided on getting the Blackberry Curve instead. I think it is absolutely perfect for my business needs and I still prefer a phone that has a keyboard on it versus the touch screen phones.  I am now able to check my email on-the-go and it has made my work life run a lot more smoothly.

Blackberry does not have as many applications as the iPhone, but that should soon change with the launch of the Blackberry App World store on April 1st.

If you do have a Blackberry, here are a few free applications I have found to help make your day easier. Please note, you do need to go to these web addresses on your phone to download the services to your phone, unless otherwise stated:

Pandora Mobile- Now you can listen to Pandora on your mobile phone – in the car, at the gym, on the train – wherever and whenever you’re in the mood to listen to great music.

Enjoy all the stations you’ve created on the web – and create new ones right from your mobile phone. You can also rate songs using thumbs up and thumbs down, and bookmark favorite artists and songs. Pandora on your phone is fully integrated with Pandora on the web, so everything you create, rate or bookmark on the phone also appears the next time you’re back on the web.

TwitterBerry- This application keeps you connected with your friends on Twitter while you are on-the-go. You can read replies to just yourself, direct message, and follow your friend’s timeline. It is a great little application that I really enjoy particularly when I am traveling because it makes updating a lot easier.

Facebook Mobile- With Facebook Mobile, you can use Facebook on the go. Use Facebook Mobile to upload photos and notes from your camera phone straight to Facebook. You can also receive and reply to Facebook messages, pokes and Wall posts using text messages, or use your phone’s mobile browser at m.facebook.com.

The Mobile application page displays mobile photos recently uploaded by your friends and a phonebook that you can use to look up your friend’s phone numbers.

Google Mobile- Stay connected on the go with Gmail, Search, Maps and other Google products. I am planning to load my Google calendar this month and I can sync it with my phone. I think this is really going to help streamline my day!

Overall, I am really happy with my phone choice and also happy with the customer service I received at Walmart. I would have never thought to hit this store for phone service, but there is definitely a convenience factor when doing my normal shopping.

I also did discover that the store offers an online cellular store where you can get the latest phones and gadgets. I could have ordered the Blackberry Storm instead, but there is definitely a benefit to having someone there to activate the service for you and be able to answer your questions in person. It is great to know it is there if you need it though.

I look forward to discovering ways that I can save with my new gadget and sharing new cell phone features that come out to help families save money.

Website for More Details: Walmart Cellular Service